April 26, 2007
Democrats and the Politics of FearBy Christopher Chantrill
Ever since the 1960s the Democrats have won about ninety percent of the black vote in presidential elections. Sometimes it's less, when John Kerry got 88 percent of the black vote in 2004. Sometimes it's right on the button, when Al Gore got 90 percent in 2000.
How do you get 90 percent of anyone to vote for one side or the other?
You have to make them afraid.
Back in the 1960s when Democrats bestrode the political world like gods they decreed an end to the politics of fear. They forbade the naked appeal to racial and religious fears and decreed a new era of universal tolerance. It was, of course, convenient for them at the time.
Shaming the politics of religious hate helped them elect John F. Kennedy to the presidency. And shaming the politics of racial hate helped them bring in the civil rights acts.
None the less, it was the right thing to do.
But then things started to go wrong for the Democrats. The unemployed working stiffs of the Great Depression started to drift away into suburban prosperity and ethnic religious voters were driven out the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by militant secularists.
It became a matter of life-and-death for Democrats to keep the voters that remained. Fortunately the solution was at hand.
After the high-toned years of the civil-rights struggle ended in a stunning victory African Americans began to develop an authentic politics of their own. It was not the high-toned politics of the civil-rights movement. It was more like the Irish machine politics of the nineteenth century, a politics of patronage and of racial identity, and it quickly became as corrupt as the politics of Boss Tweed and Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.
Perhaps in the years immediately after the civil-rights revolution Democrats were embarrassed by this Fall from the Garden of Eden. Clearly they are not embarrassed any more. Ninety percent of the black vote ain't beanbag, after all.
But it does take constant fear-mongering. It was one thing in 1970 to keep blacks in a frenzy of fear about the return of Bull Connor. After forty years of rising prosperity it takes more. It takes the chutzpah of a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton, or the creativity of a Mike Nifong, who after all won his election for DA.
Ordinary Americans were puzzled by the Durham accusations, and rightly so. If you go to the website reporting the annual National Crime Victimization Survey, as many people do, you can look up the rape statistics in "Table 42: Personal Crimes of Violence 2005: Percent distribution of single offender victimizations, based on race of victims, by type of crime and perceived race of offender."
Under "Rape/Sexual assaults" the survey reports 111,490 rape/assaults in 2005 in which a white was the victim. The "perceived race" of the offender was reported as white in 44.5 percent of cases, black in 33.6 percent of cases, "other" in 19.6 percent of cases.
Where the victim of rape was black, in 36,620 cases, things were rather different. The "perceived race" of the offender was reported as black in 100.0 percent of cases. White offenders? "0.0*" percent.
The asterisk means that the sample included ten or fewer reports. The federal crime statistics show that white-on-black rape was almost non-existent in the United States of America in 2005. This is about as extraordinary as the fact that ninety percent of blacks vote for Democrats.
In the United States today remarkable strides have been made in the reduction of age-old hatreds and enmities. The average American is a remarkably tolerant and inclusive person. Why, the average American has even been taught to believe that Islam is a religion of peace.What a pity that liberals have exempted themselves and their political supporters from this advance in human societal relations. But it is understandable. You see, American blacks, gays, feminists, and academicians live in a world assailed on all sides by the menacing "Other:" Fundamentalists, theocrats, racists, sexists, classists, and homophobes. And do they ever hate and fear the fundamentalists, theocrats, racists, sexists, classists, and homophobes that harass and oppress them.
There is one group that voted in the same lopsided way as African Americans in 2004. In the CNN exit poll 90 percent of "white conservative Protestants" went for George W. Bush. Who is making them afraid? Karl Rove or People for the American Way?